Saturday, February 23, 2008 Becomes Fastest Growing Free Online Music Network in the U.S., the CBS Corporation-owned social networking music Web site, released figures today that showed it to be the fastest growing online music network in the U.S., as their free-on-demand music service saw a unique listener increase of 92% since it was launched four weeks ago.

In addition, since the launch of free-on-demand, unique visitors continued to show sustained growth, up 59%, while page views increased 58%. receives more than 21 million active users worldwide every month.

Martin Stiksel, co-founder, said: "We've created a new model that works for everyone -- listeners, artists and copyright holders -- and the user response proves that it is working. Free is the future, and this is signaled not only by the industry's growing acceptance of what we're doing, but more importantly, by the incredibly fast increase of users accessing music on since we launched free-on-demand."

"It's very gratifying to see the U.S. market take to this way," said Felix Miller, co-founder, "There's no question that free-on- demand streaming has proven to be a tremendously powerful value proposition for the U.S. consumer. It's also clear that the music industry is looking outside itself to maximize existing revenue opportunities while developing new ones, and and CBS are showing what can be done. And it's not only the music industry that understands the potential of our model -- we're also attracting major sponsors like BMW and Philips. Additionally, our successful offline activity around the Grammy Awards, and other events we are planning, show that we're working to achieve what we promised when we launched last month."

While the free-on-demand offering has been the catalyst of the growth in U.S. traffic, the site received a tremendous boost after received on- air promotional exposure during the Feb. 10 airing of the Grammy Awards, as well as the Jan. 25 Garth Brooks concert airing on the CBS Television Network.

In launching the free-on-demand service earlier this year, became the first music Web site to offer free, global, on-demand access to the largest licensed catalogue of music built on partnerships with all four major record labels -- Universal Music Group, Sony/BMG, Warner and EMI -- as well as CD Baby, IODA, the Orchard, Naxos and more than 150,000 independent labels and artists. Free-on-demand listening is available without registration, or the download of any software. has become one of the leading places in the world where people can go to listen to music online. Its vast library has attracted a community of more than 20 million unique monthly users in 240 countries around the globe. The heart of is a powerful recommendation engine that guides listeners to music they are likely to enjoy based on prior selections, connecting them with the music they love and with others who share their tastes.'s free-on-demand service is advertiser supported, allowing clients many unique opportunities to reach a highly targeted and engaged audience.

Currently the free-on-demand service is available in the U.S., U.K. and Germany available without registration, or the download of any software, and is scheduled to roll out globally in the coming months.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Bands find gold mine in concerts

By Ben Rayner Source:

With CD sales down the drain, musicians are spending more and more time making money the only way they still can: on the road

The recording industry might appear a place of never-ending woes these days, but one shouldn't confuse sagging CD sales with the looming death of music altogether.

While a sizable segment of the public apparently no longer wants to pay for its recorded music, the age of downloading could be turning into a golden one for the concert business. Concert-ticket revenues are up, younger acts are touring earlier than they would have a few years ago – often without albums to flog – thanks to the magic of online networking, and live-music venues are so jammed in some cities that artists are finding it tough to weasel a little onstage space for themselves.

"For me and for most musicians these days, we pretty much have one option left to put a career together, which is to tour. And to really make a living, you've got to tour all the time. But if that's becoming the case for everybody, you're going to have every band on the road all the time," Halifax-bred hip-hop MC/producer Rich "Buck 65" Terfry, who handles most of his own touring affairs, recently remarked to me.

"When I was booking the tour I'm currently starting in the U.S., we were having some real problems. We wanted to go into, you know, Albuquerque, New Mexico, during this particular week, but even way in advance there were so many other bands and only so many rooms. And we came to find out that we're in a time right now that's kind of unprecedented in the amount of bands that are out there on the road. So that's going to spread things a little thin."

With rare exceptions, musicians have always made most of their money on the road, anyway – major artists earn 75 per cent of their income from touring, according to Fortune magazine – while usurious record-label contracts and the numerous other professional interests leeching off them kept the dollars earned from album sales to a minimum.

Now, however, there's a growing trend among labels to sign performers to what are known as "360 deals," where they share a stake in management, tour promotion and even merchandising, in addition to recording.

And then there are artists going the other way. Madonna, clearly mindful of where her future lies, left her label of 25 years, Warner Brothers, last October to sign a $120-million (U.S.) contract with concert-promotion company Live Nation (a spin-off of the Clear Channel entertainment conglomerate) covering every aspect of her affairs except publishing for the next 10 years.

Live Nation has no experience releasing records, mind you, but that doesn't seem to matter any more.

On the smaller scale, online word-of-mouth has made it easier for untested, up-and-coming acts to arrive in strange cities to packed houses or, at least, to route their tours around those cities where they're reasonably assured of an audience. The Arctic Monkeys, for instance, were able to largely sell out a tour of North America in 2005, months before their first album was released, simply by circulating their music free for months online.

As a result of factors like these, then, it's starting to feel a little crowded out there.

"In the last two years of touring, I've picked up the rags in every town and counted the number of great bands you can see on any night, and there's at least four or five – in small cities," observes Toronto singer/songwriter Jason Collett.

"Often, you're doing the same route, so you're plagued by the same goddamn band every night. And it's not just the night – if there are four great bands in one night to see, there are 12 great bands in one week to see. And people only have so much money to go out...

"It makes it difficult. But it's got to be a healthy sign."

The "trade-off" that labels have been slow to perceive, says Collett, is that "the more people download, the more people wind up coming to your show," often paying more for concert tickets than they would have for a CD. A lot of those fans, too, will also leave the venue with CDs, vinyl, T-shirts and other tour merchandise purchased directly from the artist.

It does seem foolish to complain of a developing "touring glut" when so much has apparently gone wrong for the music industry since the turn of the millennium.

The concert industry has never been healthier – primary-market ticket sales in Canada and the States went up for the ninth straight year in 2007, according to Pollstar magazine, hitting a record $3.9 billion, surpassing the previous year's tally of $3.6 billion – so musicians and the promoters, venue owners and booking agents who handle their road work are still making a living.

Increased competition for venues during certain times of the year just means a need for more diligent planning on the performers' parts, opines Paul Gourlie, a booking agent with Toronto's Agency Group who handles Bedouin Soundclash, the Trews and the Cancer Bats, among others.

"We have to plan way ahead to do this properly, and you also have to be paying attention to what everybody else is doing out there," he says.

"It's more of a process than just going after certain dates when you're a higher-end artist – you're trying to place holds on certain dates and route things and juggle things.... If you expect to pick up the phone and have a tour a month after you start, you're crazy. You're gonna run into all those holds and bookings and you're not going to get those dates.

"A lot of bands don't really know what they're doing."

In Toronto, at least, we should harbour no fears of any touring glut eating into our concert diet.

With new live venues, such as the recently minted Parkdale haunt Wrongbar, opening up all the time, local promoter and Horseshoe Tavern co-owner Jeff Cohen suspects there's no such thing as "a local limit on venues."

"There's more opening every day. I've never seen so many here," he says. "The competition for acts is fierce.... If the other, traditional areas of the music biz are in decline, live music, here in Toronto, has held firm. If anything, it's on an upswing.

"The only `glut' I notice is that because the live music scene is so healthy here – probably Top 5 in North America – artists often come back too soon, most likely because there's dollars to make here and great audiences, in terms of numbers."

This is good news for fans: Forced to choose between two or three choice gigs on one particularly crowded night, they can at least rest assured that most of the acts will be back within the next six months. (Maybe twice.)

And if touring traffic ever gets too heavy on these shores, enterprising bands and singers could always follow Buck 65's wisdom into uncharted, or at least under-charted, territories.

"I just got back from Iceland. I've been making plans to go into, like, Bulgaria and Slovenia," he says. "I think that's the key for me – I've got to dare to go where no one else dares to go, make a few bucks and a few new friends."

ReverbNation Introduces “Fan Exclusives”

This week ReverbNation, who by the way is probably providing the best free music marketing services for musicians out there on the web, introduced it’s “Fan Exclusives” program. They provide some really great services.

Introducing “Fan Exclusives”: The Easy Way to Turn Casual Listeners Into Registered Fans

Wouldn’t it be great if you could use access to your music as an incentive for fans to provide demographics (age, gender, location) and contact info (email) to you? Now you can. It’s a new feature called Fan Exclusives, and it’s only available at Fan Exclusives are also a great way to reward your loyal fans with special content just for them.

What It Is
Fan Exclusives provide casual listeners with an incentive to
- Become an official fan of the Artist
- Join the Artist’s mailing list
- Provide information about themselves — like age, gender, and location

Whom It’s For

Artists, Labels, and Managers should use Fan Exclusives to
- Get added value from posting full streams or songs for download.
- Reward those that are already Fans.

How It Works
Visitors will have access to a 30-second preview of your song and will be prompted to become a registered Fan of the Artist in order to access the full stream or download (you choose the setting). The Artist is in control of which songs are exclusives (limited to 30 second preview for 'non-fans') or not (full
song available to all). Once they are registered as a Fan and their email address is confirmed, they will be given access to the full song stream and/or download.

Fans DO have to 'register' with ReverbNation. Whether they join ReverbNation or not makes no difference. Once they have provided their email address to the Artist, that email is like a 'key' that will unlock exclusive content from the Artist, whether the fan has encountered it at, or on a ReverbNation 'Tunewidget' at MySpace or anywhere else. When encountered in a Tunewidget on MySpace, for example, the tunewidget will prompt for an email address if the listener claims to already be a fan. If the email checks out against the Artist's database, the exclusive content is unlocked immediately. No redirects, no hassle. We have never been in the business of using Artists' content to force people to join our site and we never will be.

How to Make a Song a Fan Exclusive
To make a song a Fan Exclusive, simply choose that option when you upload. If you want to change an existing song to a Fan Exclusive, click on the ‘edit song’ button next to the song and change the setting to one of the Fan Exclusive options. You must have our free fan-management system Fan Reach enabled to access the Fan Exclusive features. Without this, there is no way for us to track who are fans and who are not.

Where They Work

Fan Exclusive songs are currently only available for display on your ReverbNation Artist profile and inside of our TuneWidget (works on MySpace, blogs, home pages, and other social networks). Efforts are continuing to make Fan Exclusives available on other widgets as well as our Facebook Application, MyBand. Stay Tuned.

Get your but over to reverbnation now and take advantage of their awesome widgets & newsletter management tools!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Groundbreaking Music Marketing - World's First Mobile Album

By Jennifer Netherby

Hitmaking hip-hop producer Timbaland ("Shock Value") has announced a deal with Verizon Wireless to make the first "mobile album," which will be exclusively available to subscribers of V Cast, Verizon's mobile entertainment service.

As Verizon's mobile producer in residence, Timbaland will produce one song per month throughout 2008. Each month, he will work with a different artist on a track while touring the country on the Verizon Mobile Recording Studio Bus, which will also capture making-of footage for V Cast subscribers on a dedicated Timbaland channel. He will perform in some tour cities to be announced, and Verizon will select subscribers to visit the tour bus in other cities to watch him work his magic.

Timbaland says the deal will let him reach more fans because "every place don't get a CD (but) everybody has a mobile phone."

Plus, there's history to be made. "Just producing a mobile album has never been done. I'm the first to ever do it," he says.

Major artists have of late left major labels in bids to reach fans in new ways, but Timbaland isn't leaving Interscope, which put out the album "Shock Value" and distributes his Mosley Music imprint.

Interscope is involved in the Verizon deal from the standpoint that Timbaland plans to work with the label's artists for the mobile-only tracks. Whether a mobile album deal could replace a major-label deal in the future, "that's something we'll have to see," Timbaland says.

Timbaland - Scream (Ft Keri Hilson & Nicole Scherzinger)


For Verizon, the deal is a "marriage of promotional opportunity and a large distribution platform," director of digital music Ed Ruth says. "Our goal is to show the music industry that we're truly a viable distribution platform for them."

Each mobile Timbaland track will be released days after it is produced. Songs will be released as a full-length download, ringtone and ringback, and will be available only through V Cast and Verizon. Mobile song downloads will cost $1.99 each and include a copy for the PC. V Cast subscribers also can download the track through Verizon's Web site and other Verizon platforms.

At the end of the year, some sort of compilation "album" will be released exclusively through Verizon, according to Ruth.

Verizon is already in talks to sign additional artists to its mobile producer program as it continues to expand its entertainment offerings, and Ruth says the company is hoping to work with Timbaland beyond this first album.

Timbaland says he isn't focusing on a particular genre for the project. "I'm just going to have fun with it," he says. "I'll just do what comes in mind."

The first Verizon song features Mosley Music artist Keri Hilson. Timbaland hasn't yet revealed what other artists he will be working with for the project.

"How I prepare for (the new album) is, I just do it, like any other album," Timbaland says. "The only difference is it's immediate."

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Pirating Your Own Music for Promotion - The Edward Cufaude Torrent Experiment Begins

I’m sure that recently in the media and on the internet, most of you would have heard about torrents and the online world of pirated music downloads. I have read up lots of comments on message boards and sites such as Digg and educated myself with the various viewpoints from people about the subject and the general consensus I get is that most people using torrents are actually discovering new music through piracy and sites such as The Pirate Bay. Most people are fed up with the current music industry, me included.

I have seen various attempts over the previous six months by bands such as Radiohead at new methods of distributing their music and I would say these attempts look like they have been a success (Although the music industry seems to want you to believe it’s all been a bit of a failure). The only problem is that these musicians were already successful musicians, who had already made a name for themselves and already had a fan base of people waiting for their release. But what about someone who is just starting out in the music industry. What about someone who has no media contacts and no fan base.

So as an unknown independent musician myself I have decided to take the plunge and do a long experiment by uploading my own music and following the examples set by other artists and which supporters of piracy believe to be a business model which will work. I will be posting regular updates of the results on Rhythm Creation to see whether there really are any advantages to pirating your own stuff (I say pirating your own stuff, but it’s not pirating if you own the copyright, like I do). I want to see whether this new music industry business model that so many believe in will work for a new unknown artist, who’s music may not appeal to the vast majority either.

The Experiment
I am currently working on my debut album called “Sound Sunrise”. I have set a release date of 15th May 2008. It will be 12 tracks, I have currently happy with 9 tracks (although I am still trying to improve them) and am currently working on the remaining 3. I have no money for promotion. I have no industry contacts either like magazine editors, radio people etc.

Lets face the facts, if my music gets popular, it will only be uploaded by someone else, I accept that. So I might as well start to upload my music now for the free publicity and then upload my album on it’s release date. This is a big experiment for me, it will be conducted over the next few months and possibly the whole of 2008. I am going to give tips to others who want to do the same sort of thing as I learn about this way of doing stuff etc and also write posts on ways and places to promote your torrent file. I shall release site stats, money intakes from any track sales, donations from people who like my music etc and as much other stats and information which I feel shows a growth in publicity thanks to the torrents I release and the people that download and distribute them.

I am only going to promote my debut album using torrents, my own web site, my myspace account, the articles on this web site and nothing else (unless people offer me free exposure after downloading my tracks via torrents, I won’t send them the files, they will have to find them on their own). There will be no offline attempt at album promotion, I don’t play gigs or anything like that. I am basically going to actively encourage people to download my music. I actually enjoy the fact knowing that someone out there is downloading and enjoying my music during their spare time. I don’t understand why musicians don’t want to encourage people to download their tracks, those same people might just become a fan and dedicated follower of all your music releases.

The Plan

I have set out a timetable of releases as follows and shall stick to the dates, starting today with the very first torrent release.

* 8th February 2008 - First Torrent Release - A Torrent Containing my Debut EP Release “The Rhythm Creator EP”, 3 Album Pre-Release tracks and a remix exclusive to this torrent.

* 15th March 2008 - Second Torrent Release - 2 More Album Pre-Release tracks and an exclusive track only available in this torrent.

* 15th April 2008 - Third Torrent Release - 2 More Album Pre-Release tracks and an exclusive track only available in this torrent.

* 15th May 2008 - Full Album Release - The full 12 track album will be released via torrent, my own web site and online digital stores. You will be able to purchase better quality versions than those in the torrents from my own site amongst other stuff (Still got to work all that stuff out).

The Aim

My aim of this experiment is to obviously promote my music to people. But also I hope to see whether torrents can work and the business model that so many keep saying will work where music is free and people should be able to choose whether they want to support an artist or not. I also invite people to attempt to do the same with their music if they are a musician and send me details of their own results of their own successes or failures for publication on this site.

My larger long term aim with my music as a whole is to actually create some sort of income from my music. I have a dream of releasing an album every year. Realistically I only need to get the equivalent of 5000 people to buy each yearly album to start making a decent living to make music full time. That’s about 15 album sales a day, it doesn’t sound a lot when you put it like that. I’m not after huge sums of money, just enough to get by with an income from my music, so I can continue using as much of my time as possible making music and helping other with their music through this site. So will people voluntarily pay for my music if they enjoy it, like they say they will/do? Only time will tell.

Where I Am Currently With My Music

So let me give you some background about me so you can see where I am now in terms of my music. Firstly I am deadly serious about my music, I started making music when I was about 18 when I had only very limited piano skills. In the 7 years since then I have learnt how to make my own electronic music, learnt various skills about recording, producing etc and even got a degree in Music Technology. I have wasted time trying to get signed to labels and in October 2007 decided to go the independent route after finding out about services like TuneCore .

I make all my tracks myself and no one else in involved. 99% of the samples used in my tracks are made by myself except the occasional single drum sample or sample I can’t record myself which I get from royalty free sources. So any money I make from my music is my own. I released my debut 3 track EP in December 2007, mainly as kind of a test run through the online digital distribution site TuneCore to stores such as iTunes, Napster, Amazon MP3 etc. I think I’ve only sold a very small number of tracks and I did very limited promotion. I uploaded full previews on a few sites like TheSixtyone, MySpace, ReverbNation and OurStage. On OurStage my track Overdrive (It’s in the torrent) came 7th out of around 400 tracks in the electronic category for January (my first month on there). I run this site Rhythm Creation to help others with music which currently has about 200 unique visits per day (mostly from google) and have also set up my own personal web site so people can search for me on google and a MySpace Account.

The First Torrent Release
So I created my torrent, with 7 tracks. I had never done this before, but it is very easy, there’s lots of guides on the net on the net to show you how. I could see the torrent in my tracker and now need to promote and seed it. I uploaded my torrent to some torrent sites such as The Pirate Bay, Mininova, Isohunt and BTJunkie.

I also added a readme file and explained to people about myself and how the music is free and about my upcoming album. I also explained the following 8 ideas which people can do to help promote my music if they like it. These are also a good way of me collecting data about how my experiment is going.

* 1. Seed this torrent

* 2. Contact me and comment on my tracks (Good or Bad)

* 3. Distribute my tracks to friends who might be interested. Including the readme text file

* 4. Add me as a friend on Myspace

* 5. Vote for my tracks on

* 6. Visit/Promote my music making blog at (Maybe even write a guest post if you know something of interest to musicians)

* 7. Visit/Promote my personal web site at

* 8. Use my tracks for things such as YouTube videos etc for FREE/UNCOMMERCIAL projects, as long as you credit me as the composer.

Some Current Stats to Start

Will these stats increase due to people discovering my music via torrents?

* has approx 1 visitor per day.

* which I started last October now has approx 200 unique visitors per day mainly from people searching google for help with their own music, they are not searching for my music.

* I have 32 MySpace Friends, had 791 MySpace Profile views and 588 plays in the music player.

* I currently have 70 plays on my ReverbNation widget - on the right of this page and which is also on

* There are currently 2200 results when I Google my name.

Download Torrent One
And finally if your interested in downloading my music here is the first torrent to download. 100% legal. Please seed for as long as possible once downloaded and thankyou for downloading.

The Torrent on the Pirate Bay.

The Torrent on MiniNova.

The Torrent on Rhythm Creation.

you will also find the first torrent and later the other torrents on other sites such as ThePirateBay, Mininova, ISOHunt and BTJunkie.

The best way of following my experiment is to subscribe to The Rhythm Creation RSS Feed, subscribe via email down the right hand side of this page or bookmark the blog page. Also if anyone has ideas or maybe any stories about their own sucesses or failures to do with torrents and distributing your music please add them to the comments of this post. Thanks and enjoy the music

How To Stand Out On MySpace

Bands Get Creative To Battle MySpace GlutFrom After School YouTube Lessons To Cell Phone Networking, Bands Try New Ways To Capture Fans.

From brit pop to hip hop, music is more diverse and easier to reach than ever with bands populating online social networking sites in the tens of thousands.

So how do bands battle the MySpace glut?

From after-school YouTube lessons to mysterious maps of the universe and cell phone social networking, bands are trying out new ways to connect to fans.

We talked to signed and unsigned bands and solo artists from across America to find out how just how unique marketing and promotions have to be to get new listeners interested.

Gerhard Enns of the Fresno/Bakersfield-based band The Dalloways said, “Making music is the easy part. Marketing is the hard part. It’s like a jigsaw puzzle, trying to figure out how to get it to people.”

The Dalloways have taken the marketing aspect of their music into an entirely new realm. They launched a YouTube after-school special with their keyboardist Cortnie Cleary titled, “Cortnie Cleary’s After School Lessons.”

Cortnie Cleary's After School Lessons: Melodica Maestro

The short 30-50 second YouTube clips are a tongue-and-cheek approach to simple lessons on topics that range from how to play a melodica to how to look cool at a party and how to peel an orange.

Tagged with Cleary’s persona from the band, each episode offers a fun diversion to simply attracting people to the band via music. “It’s actually easy and fun to do,” Cleary said. “And people need to learn!”

Enns added that marketing on YouTube centers around their new e.p. “Dirty Money and Filthy Love,” and leads up to the release of their second full-length album, “The Distant Fairs,” later in 2008.

KiNo is the kind of U.K. indie solo artist in America you’d hope to find at a late night bar in New York, not necessarily performing, but philosophizing.

He might be sipping a drink, participating in a semi-serious dialogue, or discoursing on every topic imaginable, including his artistic marketing idea he calls, map of the universe: a unique online tool where fans can only get information on him if they sign up via the Web.

Not considering himself a musician but rather a man of ideas, KiNo’s unique approach to reaching a fanbase turns the idea of the Internet’s over-saturation of total information inside-out by purposely being vague and mysterious.

Prior to the recent release of his album, “Map of the Universe,” KiNo did what most bands would never dream of doing. He threw away a potential fanbase of 50,000 iTunes subscribers.

That may seem crazy to most bands. An iTunes subscriber list of such numbers would have been a gold mine of potential fans for most bands to market their debut album, but not for KiNo. That’s because while it’s easy for bands to build profiles and upload music, it’s tough to reach music lovers and build a fanbase without social networkers assuming they’re being spammed.

So why did he do it?

“Now being in the process of presenting the music live and the self-release of my record, I switched to a mode of reservation and mystery.” KiNo said.

If misery loves company, then according to KiNo, so does mystery.

Having developed what he considers a new mode of communication, KiNo said, “My website, is shut down to the public unless they join the mailing list and start receiving the public announcements that feature special new content. The word spreads quickly and it only brings people who are curious to locate themselves...”

Robert Wayne from the New York indie pop trio, We The They, agrees with the idea that marketing bands to today’s fans requires an air of mystery. “If there is little mystery, then there is little appeal,” he said.

But that’s not all. Wayne said that fans nowadays have short attention spans, so Web sites must be simple and sort of interactive playhouses for the mind. “There was a time when a large piece of Oak Tag paper and glitter were the main ingredients to promoting. Nowadays, even band websites went the way of the dinosaur. MySpace has music, and the majority of those who make it, in its palm. In order to swim above the countless bands on MySpace, your profile needs to be a sort of playhouse. Think … a primary level classroom. We want to find the folks with the smallest attention span and get them hooked.”

We The They are part surfer band, part campfire song makers. They are endorsed by JACC Clothing and are the unsigned indie flagship of Wilson Brothers Venture Guitars, a company founded by the Ventures, a surf band popular in 1960s.

The Ventures are creators of the song “Hawaii-Five-O” and credited with much of the surf sound. They’re inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as of March 2008.

While West Coasters might suggest We The They have a pop OC style with happy surf-sounding guitar riffs, Wayne said the band is considered to have a New York "Hudson Valley" sound. “So we went with this and took it a step further by touring campgrounds along the East Coast, embracing the campsite culture we often speak of in our songs,” Wayne said. “Our MySpace activity tripled during this time.”

But is reaching fans just about being endorsed by guitar and clothing companies?

Wayne said all of We The They’s music, CDs and select merchandise are free. “We go with the buy one get three free approach. It costs us a great deal, but we chalk that up to promotion.”

Sometimes reaching fans also means taking the music to the people by surprise. “We have played several surprise shows in rural clearings and crowded city parks,” Wayne said. He joked, “It attracts a nice crowd before being broken up by the local police.”

LA hip hop group Deziak Clan may have a gritty and sometimes controversial sexual edge, but they’re good at taking their album “Ghetto Gumbo” to the people via the streets and endorsement deals as well as MySpace.

With a target demographic age of 16 - 48, their Black and Latino styled music is marketed to specialty shops as well as spread via house parties that they attend. “We attract fans by being so real that we go to regular house parties and chill. A lot of times it gets some of us in trouble but we are really accessible,” Emery Morrison A.K.A Emery Finagler, Deziak Clan’s emcee said.

To promote their gutter-urban street-edgy rap they also utilize an endorsement by Ku Soju, a liquor company owned by Anheuser-Busch, and by advertising in large market publications like the LA Times and New York Times.

Morrison added that while Deziak Clan hopes to achieve the stardom of Prince, Tupac or Marvin Gaye, his group believes such success can only come from having a successful business model that attracts music consumers. “Our business goal is to successfully brand products associated with us to the highest profitable level possible. Deziak Clan is not a band we are an edgy emotional music brand with our fingers on the pulse of the streets.”

Bakersfield-based EMI sub-label Credential Recordings band Lost Ocean are trying living room tours and cell phone MySpace strategies to create fan loyalty.

Taking a break from touring, the band writes songs in an abandoned trailer at a Bakersfield area church. Having toured across America to promote their debut self-titled album, they’ve found that being signed doesn’t always mean easy success.

Lost Ocean will soon be offering living room tours that California fans can win. They’ll have lunch with fans and get to know them in an entirely new way. They’ve also joined the phone program, which links phone messages to the band on their MySpace when fans dial 661-349-7206.

Bands like the Plain White Ts and solo artists like Alicia Keys and 50 Cent all use SayNow’s cell phone social networking tool. Lost Ocean Keyboardist Skyler Johnson said, “We’ll get the message and it will show up on our MySpace and we’ll actually call you back…It’s really cool because fans only normally get to talk to you if your coming to their town…it’s a really great marketing tool.”

Lost Ocean is currently working with a new producer as they create at least one new song per week over the next six months for their upcoming second album. In the meantime, they want fans to keep calling them.

The music promotion that keeps on giving

by Eric Benderoff

As I write this, I’m listening to a live recording from a favorite band only available to a few thousand people. Recorded at several venues in the U.S. during a fall tour, the 12 songs on the New Pornographers’ "Live from the Future" bonus album are a treat for any fan who paid a little extra for the group’s “Challengers” CD before the August release.

That includes me, and the live recording is a great example of how record labels and artists are using novel promotions to try and boost music sales. It’s no secret the business continues to struggle in the digital era, as music sales slipped 14 percent in 2007.

I wrote about some of those promotions in June, including the "Buy Early, Get Now" deal offered by Matador Records, the New Pornographers’ label. (That's the band on the top of the post.) I’m following up now because I just downloaded the “live” recording, released six months after the “Challengers” album dropped.

It was Matador’s fourth "Buy Early" program — No. 5 is in the works, for the upcoming Stephen Malkmus album, due in March—and it offers a real bang for the buck.

Here’s what I got for an extra $5 when I pre-ordered the "Challenger’s" CD from my local record store:

—A streaming version of the album I could listen to before it was released. That’s the "get now" part of the deal.

—Ten extra tracks—B-sides, alternate versions and even two Christmas songs. These were released periodically over several months after "Challengers" was released.

—The 12-song "Live from the Future" recording.

—Music videos and still pictures of the band from the road.

—A box of specially labeled CDs, empty discs awaiting the content to burn as the extras were delivered digitally. (One disc for the B-sides, one for the live recording and one for the videos and pictures.)

The content is still coming. I will be getting another video, perhaps as soon as next week, said Patrick Amory, Matador’s general manager.

He called the $5 deal a "definite success. We sold approximately 7,500 copies of the ‘Buy Early Get Now’ promotion for Challengers." As of last week, the label had sold more than 80,500 copies of “Challengers,” so only a small percentage of fans got the extra goodies.

Much was written about Radiohead’s pay-what-you-want scheme for its recent "In Rainbows" release—now sold for a fixed price at record stores and online at iTunes and Amazon’s MP3 store—but Matador Records' approach is also worthy of note. The extras for the New Pornographers’ “Challengers” release is a rich package of music and well worth the small fee.

Would you pay an extra $5 today for a live album in six months (plus another album’s worth of bonus tracks) from one of your favorite bands? I’d sign up for a similar promotion again in a snap.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

MySpace Opens Platform. Good News For Music Marketing.

MySpace's new development platform has gone live and allows full monetization for developers.

What does all this mean for music fans and marketers?

Lots of great new applications. And because its based on Google's OpenSocial platform, very soon you'll be able to update your MySpace pages instantly when you update your website, Friendster page and all kinds of toehr social networking sites. (FYI - Facebook is not playing nice with this "open" idea.)

According to PaidContent:

* Developers can monetize their canvas page (the page where users add these apps to their profiles) and keep all of the revenue

* Developers can use any form of online monetization: ads, sponsorships, product sales, etc.

* MySpace will add in its “HyperTargeting” and “SelfServe” ad products over time.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Journey's New Frontman Found on YouTube

The New Journey

I am a child of the 80’s. Play some New Order, Yes, or Van Halen and you’ve got my attention.

And yes, I’ll even admit that I like the power ballads, especially from Journey. I mean, really, who didn’t grow up in the 80’s and slow dance to “Open Arms?” That song was standard homecoming and prom material. Well, couple my love of 80’s music and internet marketing and this has to be one of the best stories to come out of the age of YouTube. Hattip to

The Story

The Zoo was a rock band in the Philippines that liked to upload video of their performances to YouTube. They have a solid following in the Philippines and most of their videos are from their performances at the Hard rock café in Makati. They are very well known for their covers of well-known rock songs from the 80’s and 90’s. Their lead singer, Arnel Pineda garnered a lot of the attention because of his clear tone and amazing voice.

Here is Arnel and The Zoo performing one of my favorite Journey songs, “Faithfully.” Give it a listen, you’ll see what I mean.

Did you know Journey was hiring?

Now, here is the amazing part of the story. Halfway around the world original Journey founder, Neil Shon, was trolling videos of bands on YouTube one night and finds this video. He contacted the band through YouTube, convinced them he was for real, and in short time auditioned to become the front man for Journey. It didn’t take much convincing, and he was announced on December 5th 2007.

Now Journey fans, and even those that with a passing familiarity, know Steve Perry was “the voice.” Replacing him bordered on sacrilege. However, after hearing Arnel, I am fully convinced this guy can handle the job.

So, here is your new Journey frontman, Arnel Pineda. From cover band to Frontman, all via YouTube, plus some amazing vocal talent.

Is YouTube the new Broadway?
The marketing aspect of this has to be respected. YouTube has been the conduit to many contacts, contracts and discoveries. Apple’s use of a fan’s self-created commercial for the iPod Touch was one of the first YouTube sucess stories. Instead of suing the fan base, Apple realized that the user base were becoming passionate evangelists for the product and it was better to promote the evangelists than shut them down with lawyers. What better way to help people go to the next level of being a fan of the company?

Marketing via YouTube
YouTube has enabled a whole new form of discovery for artists. Singers, filmmakers, actors, designers, animators, and on and on. The new pathway to becoming discovered is much shorter and much more broad. The abilities to reach more people and distuguish yourself is easier than ever. However, the stakes are also much higher. Because the access is so easy for anyone to upload themselves, the competition has increased. There are more people uploading than ever before and creating consumer-generated video.

This is the difference that this story highlights. Even among the thousands of videos of people singing Journey songs, this is the one that got noticed. Why? because the kid has scary talent and a voice that is almost (dare I say) better than Steve Perry. He had a product that got noticed. It was better, stronger, and “stickier” than the competition.

The secret to success

Even though the access is greater, the competition will also be greater, and no amount of additional visibility on the web helps an average product. Products that kick ass and are the ones that get noticed.

How to get your indie music to the masses

By Shara Rutberg

(FORTUNE Small Business) -- Dear FSB: I am a raggaeton music artist. Everyone that hears my music absolutely loves it, but I've tried to get signed by several independent record label companies and have been used for my music and received no money in return. I would love to be able to market my own music through digital distribution. How do I get started? How can I market to the thousands, if not millions?

- Gerson Martinez, Columbus

Dear Gerson: Forget the independent labels - especially if they've been stealing your tunes.

Most of what they can do for you, you can do yourself, according to Michael King, who teaches Music Marketing 201 at, the online branch of the Boston's Berklee College of Music, the world's largest independent college focused on the study of contemporary music.

In the past, labels monopolized distribution, but today, "forward-thinking online distributors are empowering artists to do it themselves," says King.

Two companies in particular have enabled artists to get their music on Apple's (AAPL, Fortune 500) iTunes, RealNetworks (RNWK)' Rhapsody, eMusic and other online retailers: CD Baby and TuneCore.

"Essentially, these online distributors do exactly the same thing: they have direct relationships with the digital retailers and provide a bridge to get your music into the stores," says King.

The two companies operate slightly differently. CD Baby charges a small fee, (currently 7 percent) for every sale generated online. TuneCore doesn't charge a fee on sales, but charges a one-time fee, per store, per album, for delivering the music, and a one-time charge per song you upload (both are currently $0.99), plus a $20 annual fee.

"You'll need to run the numbers to see which one works best for your particular situation," says King. Other online distributors are popping up constantly, but CD Baby and Tunecore have the best track records for getting your tracks into the hands of listeners.

Heavy metal makeover
"Be sure to have a MySpace page and a solid website, know how to use it, and update it regularly," says Chris Knab, author of Music is Your Business and president of FourFront Media and Music, a Seattle-based music business consultancy.

Thousands and millions - of dollars or fans - aren't going to appear overnight.

"Slow down!" says Knab. "There is no fast track to making money in any part of the music industry. Commit yourself to being in it for the long haul. Remember, there were over 75,000 new releases put out last year and over 56,000 of them sold less than 100 copies."

Distribution follows marketing. "One doesn't market their music by getting on iTunes," says King. "The key is to generate interest outside of these retailers and drive folks to the outlet so they'll buy your music."

You need a fully integrated marketing campaign that takes advantage of the marketing outlets and technologies that are available today to independent musicians. "And tour, tour, tour," says King.

To learn the internet marketing aspect of that integrated campaign, Knab recommends How to Successfully Market Your Music on the Internet by David Nevue, an industry consultant who runs the music industry resource

"Nevue takes you through every aspect of internet marketing - everything you need to learn about how to build your career through the Internet," says Knab.

Nevue updates the book every six months, because changes are rippling through the digital music marketing world nearly as fast as a raggaeton beat.

Do you have killer music-marketing tips? Share them with us.

Grow Your Fan Base - The Open Mic

How To Grow A Fan Base

To build a fan base as an artist is simple in theory. The main objective for an artist is to create BUZZ. “Buzz” means people at all levels are hearing about your artist including fans, club owners, A&R people, radio program and music directors, editors at music publications and zines, etc. The ultimate goal is that one or two radio stations or more will take notice and start playing your song. One station leads to the next and before you know it, your artist is getting airplay. Airplay changes an artist’s career.

Airplay creates BDS, which leads to sales and SoundScans. All this gets the attention of major labels or major money to enable the maximum promotion of an artist. The artist who has the money behind him gets the budget to pay for radio promotion and for publicity, and thus compete at the highest level.

Without a real plan to build a fan base and create a serious buzz, it’s almost impossible to succeed.

First, an artist needs a song and identity to introduce to the market. An album is great but a few strong songs about who an artist really is will be the message an artist sends to his fans. As an artist, your style and quality have to be who you are or you are wasting everyone’s time.

Second, an artist needs a video and great pictures to help market himself to people who don't yet know him. The song, a video and pictures will also be crucial to industry people and others. The good news is that there is a way to do it cost effectively. It's called an electronic press kit, something an artist can use so that anyone can go to his site or MySpace page and download all of this information, including the artist’s bio.

MySpace is a #1 priority followed by the artist’s Web site. Next, be sure to include samples of the artist’s music and allow free downloads to get his music to fans until artist is getting airplay. At that point, you can charge.

Also very important on the artist’s MySpace page and Web site: live video performances. Have a video of artist singing his songs and encourage people to place that video and artist’s song on their MySpace pages. Build the network.

Set up a radio station tour to meet program directors. As an artist, if you don't have the hook-ups then you need to find a manger who can help do this. Or find a known artist/producer to produce artist’s song whom PDs know. It’s very competitive out there! Offer radio stations artist’s time and talent at no charge to open any of their events or shows or any on-air promotions. Use song hooks for ringtones as well.

Have a calendar on artist’s MySpace page and Web site so fans will know what artist is doing and how to meet up with him.

VERY IMPORTANT: Answer all MySpace email and add them to your artist’s friend list. Artist should make personal contact with fans. Could take 2 – 3 hours a day, but it’s worth it.

Making as many public appearances as possible is important. Performing for high schools is another great way to get your music out there. Talk to local fair or festival bookers and try to get an opening spot at the state fairs, this can translate into lots of exposure.

Be aggressive: use E-mail blasts and text-messaging to tell people what you are doing and make announcements. Try to find a spot in different cities where artist can perform once a month and sell music to make some income.

Just a start here. Good common sense helps!

Digital Download Cards Dead On Arrival

by Marc Lostracco

Asleep at the switch during the dawn of Napster and viciously retaliatory in the years that followed, the music industry hasn't done itself any favours over the last decade. In an effort to maintain a business model that is no longer relevant, the "Big Four" music behemoths have attempted a slew of marketing tactics, from added-value multimedia discs, to movie tie-ins, to bundling and boxing product into "premium" offerings. This week, Toronto-based Sony BMG Canada is rolling out the Platinum MusicPass—basically, gift cards for full-length albums. It's a sign that the company is waking up to the digital downloading reality, yet still can't reconcile its shareholders with how customers want to enjoy their music.

In a startling about-face this summer, EMI was the first major label to offer online music free of crippling Digital Rights Management (DRM). For the first time, EMI tracks purchased on iTunes could be played on devices other than the iPod, and music purchased on Amazon needn't be tied to Windows Media-enabled software. Historically resistant to anything that wasn't Krazy Glued to brick-and-mortar retail or their own abysmal online service, Sony BMG was the most stringent holdout. The MusicPass cards will furnish high-quality (320 kbps) MP3 files free of DRM, but you have to buy the full album at retail to get it—plus, the pickings are currently pretty slim, at only 23 titles.

It seems like Sony BMG Canada, acting on a directive from the mothership, is targeting the type of older customer (read: 35+) who may not typically download music, and who is used to the concept of buying a full album rather than the more current à la carte, per-song method. Priced at $12.99 and featuring safe, middle-of-the-road artists like John Mayer, Celine Dion, and Bruce Springsteen, the cards will be placed in the impulse-buy zone near the cash registers of Future Shop, Shoppers Drug Mart, CD Plus, Best Buy, and Wal-Mart.

For customers just dipping their toes into the digital music domain, DRM can be a deal-breaking turnoff. Perhaps they've received an Zune as a gift, for example, and hit up iTunes for the Ultimate Santana only to find that they can't play it on their portable device. These customers also tend to be less likely to head into an HMV to buy a CD, but are intimately familiar with every aisle at Wal-Mart. And all customers, regardless of age or technical knowhow, want to be able to buy music and play it on the devices they own.

Gift cards for Shoppers, Future Shop, and the like already exist that allow for more customer choice, so why would someone choose a Carrie Underwood MusicPass over an iTunes gift card? "They have great graphics and a quality look and feel that will make them highly collectible," says Brooks Smith, the CEO of InComm (the company manufacturing the MusicPass cards). Uh huh.

Physical CD sales have been in a free fall while legal music downloads grew by 40% in 2007, but Sony BMG says that many customers still want a physical product as part of their music purchase. The cards are redeemed by scratching the back to reveal a PIN and serial number, and then visiting the MusicPass website to download the music and bonus material. Apparently, once the card is redeemed, the label hopes that people will be scrapbooking them. Or trading them. Or something.

Despite the marketing push behind MusicPass, it's likely a niche product for occasional music buyers and last-minute gift hunters. While it's a good thing that the cards allow for interoperability without the irritations of DRM, consumers still must buy the entire album, which is really what the music companies want anyway (Sony BMG now sells DRM-free individual tracks on Amazon). Six themed compilation cards are also being offered, which allows the label to access its lucrative publishing catalogue.

Unfortunately for the music industry, the aging boomer isn't too relevant as a music consumer, and the slow burning, career-artist development of the Billy Joel era is an exception to the norm these days. A mass-produced, flimsy plastic card is hardly a collector's item (certainly less-so than the actual CD), and it creates an undesirable extra step for the customer. MusicPass is also a single-label product only, so expect a slew of confusing commodities from competing companies. And finally, MusicPass costs about $3 more for the exact same product that is more easily obtained on iTunes. Sony BMG got it right by uncrippling the tracks, but that's about it. Otherwise, this idea should go over like, er, a lead zeppelin.

USB Wristband Albums

by Luigi Cappel

Last night I saw Ringo Starr on the Late Show, playing the lead song to his new album Liverpool 8.

Here’s what’s different. The album is a 2GB Flash Drive embedded into a rubber bracelet, of course the name of the album is on the bracelet and the price is around the same as any new album. $20 from memory. As well as the album the contents include a music video, interviews, photos and more.

If you buy the album, you will probably want to wear it because it is novel and this being the first time it has been done (to my knowledge) it will become a colectors item. This could become the ultimate fashion wear for 2008. What are you listening to? Check it out on my wrist. The only drawback is that you can’t plug it into your car stereo or your iPod, but that will no doubt come if the concept takes off.

Storing multiple albums could be a bit of a problem, but I’m sure there will be appropriate refinements.

About 8 years ago I tried to get the local media to publish a story I wrote, saying that if the music industry doesn’t take care of their music buying public and take advantage of the capabilities of new media such as adding video, interviews, photos etc to albums, they will have a hard time competing with downloads. But if they add so much material (that they have anyway and don’t generally sell) so that it isn’t worth the hassle or cost of downloading everything, they will be in trouble.

The media didn’t want my story because it was controversial and probably because a lot of there advertising revenue came from the record companies. Hey guess what, yeah I was right. Now I’m not super clever, I’m just being logical. I think the record companies were arrogant and had the attitude of some Japanese manufacturers of a decade ago, who said to their customers, we will tell you what features you want on your products and how to use them, but that’s another story.

The point is, we are in the world of new media. Consumers have loads of choices. BUT, they are prepared to pay for value. EMI, Sony etc. if you want to keep your market, you need to give value. If you don’t you may just find that you aren’t needed or wanted any more. It’s not too late, but you need to understand, its not just about the media you print your music on, it’s about being innovative, listening to your customers and being innovative, fun, inspiring, sticky and giving value for money.

Instead of firing your staff, cutting lose your entertainers and making them do their own promotion, how about talking to them. There’s a novel idea. Here’s the question. It’s 2010 and the music industry as we knew it has collapsed. It has taken with it major printing companies, media companies, wholesalers and retailers and increased unemployment noticeably. If you were able to go back to 2008, what would you do differently?

David Letterman-Ringo-Starr-Jan 2008

Facebook, MySpace and gig promotion

I keep hearing everyone say, ‘Facebook is a social tool, it’s not really for gig promotion – myspace is what that was designed for’. Interesting. Sure, myspace seems to have all the record labels you could want, plenty of artists showcasing their music and great features for artists in general, but is it good for the local artist who wants to let people in his local area know gigs are occurring? Myspace feels very international, whilst Facebook feels local.

I have a myspace page, have done for a few years – and I have used this to publicise every gig I’ve played at, or have been scheduled to play at, showcase my music and act as a profile page. Whilst friends I know have responded to gig requests, it’s never really made any huge difference (that I can see) to those numbers attending the gig that are outside my friend circle.

I created a Facebook account a while back now, and decided to use the ‘events’ feature to publicise my gigs on Facebook. Much to my surprise, I had people I don’t know confirming themselves as coming, photographers asking for passes to take photos for the night, and generally much more of an online ‘buzz’ about the event than I have seen on Myspace for one my events.

I’d like to hear if anyone else has any similar experiences? Whilst Myspace may be the first place to look for gig details and information for the major players in the music industry, perhaps Facebook could work better for us local talents? It’s an interesting notion, that I’ve yet to see fruit properly, but the indicators for me, at least, are there.

Music 2.0, SellaBand Innovates the Industry

Feel like your band is too good for the street corner, but not quite ready to hit the studio on your own? Well, the world wide web combines reality and fantasy once more. SellaBand is bridging the gap between starving artist and up-and-coming star by facilitating piecemeal purchases of bands by the internet community.

Not so unlike the soccer team that recently sold 26,000 person ownership, essentially each participating band on SellaBand has their forthcoming CD broken up into 5,000 parts, priced at $10 each. Once the artist hits that magic number of $50,000, they get their pick of the high powered industry producers and studios the website has on consultancy. All money is held is escrow until the goal is hit to assure the process is legit.

13 artists/groups have thus far achieved the full monetary goal, and three tracks from their respective CDs are available as free downloads. The other tracks are to be sold for $.50 each, the profits of which are to be split evenly between the CD sponsors, the artist, and (of course) SellaBand.

Based in Germany and only incorporated in 2006, the site has gained some decent popularity quickly, especially now that the music industry crisis has been brought to the forefront of debate. Between and Yahoo! both planning to offer full track listening, and Radiohead’s business model-shattering internet distribution, now may be just the time for a delicate balance like SellaBand with a Web 2.0 community twist.

So whether you’re a struggling musician or just always wanted to say you were “with the band,” here’s your chance to buy a piece of the Music 2.0 pie.

The Life and Crimes of the Music Biz

The History of the Music Industry through the eyes of Simon Napier-Bell

The record industry is careering towards meltdown. A good thing too, says Simon Napier-Bell, after 40 years of working with its most notorious moguls.

The lobby of the Sony building in New York is 70-feet high and heavy with music business ambiance - gold records, photographs and the 'Sony Shop of New Technology'. Upstairs, the main reception is like the lounge of an exclusive club. Young people, dreaming of stardom, stand in wonder breathing in the atmosphere, looking at memorabilia - platinum CDs, photos of stars, framed press reports, Billboard charts. For an aspiring artist or manager, just to step into the building is a thrill. The impression is of a corporation dedicated to the success of its artists, almost altruistic in its understanding of their needs.

Yet it's nothing but a fly trap. Artists go there dreaming of being signed. But out of every 10 signed nine will fail. A contract with a major record company was always a 90 per cent guarantee of failure. In the boardroom the talk was never of music, only of units sold. Artists were never the product; the product was discs - 10 cents' worth of vinyl selling for $10 - 10,000 per cent profit - the highest mark-up in all of retail marketing. Artists were simply an ingredient, without even the basic rights of employees.

Imagine the outcry if people working in a factory were told that the cost of the products they were making would be deducted from their wages, which anyway would only be paid if the company managed to sell the products. Or that they would have to work for the company for a minimum of 10 years and, at the company's discretion, could be transferred to any other company at any time.

Recently, the Wall Street Journal investigated the industry and concluded that 'for all the 21st-century glitz that surrounds it, the popular music business is distinctly medieval in character: the last form of indentured servitude.'

As long as the major record companies controlled the industry, artists had to accept these conditions. But the majors' grip on things has almost gone. For years they saw it coming but did little to change things. Now each week brings them more gloom. CD sales are down on last year, which were down on the year before, and the year before that. Sony and BMG amalgamated, but brought themselves little benefit in doing so. EMI and Warners tried to go the same route, but failed. So EMI was taken over by someone with no knowledge of the record industry. Guy Hands of Terra Firma fame promised to reinvent the whole business plan; he started by parting company with Radiohead.

But outside of the industry, who cares? Pop music has never sounded better or more vibrant, never been more easily available to the listener. The only people who are suffering are the people who brought it on themselves. The major record companies.

In 1966 I came into a business that was alive with excitement and optimism. I was one of a select group - the young managers, like Brian Epstein, Andrew Loog Oldham and Kit Lambert - who had taken over the UK's new pop groups - the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Who, the Kinks, the Yardbirds, the Animals. We young managers were on fire. We hustled, and we were free. We weren't even friends, yet we knew each other from hanging out at the Ad Lib club or the Scotch of St James. Despite enormous differences between us, we found one thing in common. We all saw our principal job as going to war with the record company.

The first record company I ever went to was Decca in London in 1964. It was a six-storey building on the south bank of the river at Lambeth. The inside was painted in the same colour, olive green, as government buildings - like the labour exchange or the tax office. With a gruff commissioner on the door, it was pure bureaucracy, the civil service of the music industry. During the Second World War, Decca developed radar for the army. From the profits, its stuffy owner, Sir Edward Lewis, indulged his enthusiasm for recording classical music. For him, pop music was a necessary sideline, nothing to be too proud of.

At Decca they didn't like young people. I was 25, but I talked my way into seeing someone in A&R, a small mean-minded man who sat picking his nose while I played my record. It was a group I wanted to manage and I'd paid for them to make the record. The man was a pedant; a killjoy. 'It's dreadful!' he exclaimed. 'The song's not memorable and the musicians don't catch the beat.' Then, surprisingly, he agreed a deal. It was a very small one, but I was delighted - my first step into the business. But if the record was as bad as he'd said it was, why did he give me a deal? And if it wasn't that bad, why had he said it was? I left the building thinking, 'What a wanker!' and it's been difficult to think of A&R people in any other way since.

At that time Britain had four major record companies - Decca, EMI, Pye and Philips. These last two were offshoots of corporations that produced electronic hardware for home and industry. EMI, like Decca, manufactured hi-tech equipment for the government, mainly for hospitals - brain scanners and the like. None of these companies had been set up first and foremost for music; they made records for extra profit. It was a wonderful trick they'd learnt. They bought vinyl cheaply; added a label, a song and a sleeve and sold it expensively.

When I took over the management of the Yardbirds I had to deal with EMI. In 1961, it had become the biggest record company in the world, and that was before it signed the Beatles. There was an air of pomposity about the place. Artists were from the wrong class - they tended to cause problems. EMI preferred to deal with managers, especially if they were middle class and public school. The people in the business affairs department were extraordinarily pissed off when I told them I considered their contract with the Yardbirds to be invalid. They doubted I was right, but were too scared to challenge me in case they lost the group altogether, so they agreed to negotiate a new deal. In order to bypass the company's A&R department, I insisted the Yardbirds should produce their own records. I demanded the biggest advance they'd ever paid and the highest royalty - £25,000 and 12 per cent of retail - and they gave it to me. If this was my entrance exam into management, I thought I'd passed with flying colours. I soon learned I'd failed.

EMI had simply advanced the Yardbirds their own royalties and included a host of tricky accounting clauses - for instance the artist was only paid on 90 per cent of records sold, and was not paid on 'over-pressings', although these were usually sold anyway. I asked the group's lawyer why he'd let these things pass. 'If I told my clients not to sign unfair contracts they'd never get a deal.'

I had learned the first golden rule of management - record companies are not to be trusted.

Management is a wildly up and down occupation. Sometimes - if you're standing at the top of a stadium looking down on 100,000 people stomping and cheering at your artist, or popping another bundle of cheques into your bank account, or being hailed as the Svengali behind the new icon of youth culture - it feels good. Like standing at the back of the hall in Guangdong during Wham!'s trip to China with the group being cheered or encore after encore. But at other times - when your nitwit star, out of his head on drugs or drink or self-admiration, tells you to cancel the gig with a stadium full of people waiting for the first chord, or wakes you in the middle of the night with a call from Sydney to say he can't go on stage because he has no clean socks (as the lead singer of the Yardbirds once did) - it feels less so.

In the end, though, you have to see it from the artist's point of view. He's the one who will be booed off if he performs badly, or slated by the critics if he makes a bad album, or shot at by some maniac just for being famous. The artist takes all the emotional hits and needs you as his friend. Your common enemy is the record company.

Having got the contract with EMI sorted out, I visited our American record company. In 1966 the US market was dominated by CBS and RCA, both of whom had the same civil service atmosphere as EMI and Decca. Their principal business was broadcasting and they held government licenses that required them to keep high moral standards. The other majors were Capitol, which had been bought by EMI, and MCA, which had bought the American office of Decca. (Warners was still considered a minor offshoot of a movie studio.)

The Yardbirds were with CBS whose New York HQ was known as Black Rock - a gaunt, black-bricked, black-glassed skyscraper. Its lobby was as austere as a high security prison and I was accompanied to the elevator by a guard. I was meant to be seeing Len Levy, the head of the Epic label, but the company didn't want me there. They had the rights to the record, they were going to release it, they'd decided on the budget and they didn't want the manager turning up demanding things.

'The Yardbirds' manager is here.'

'Aw Jesus, is he? Well, Len's out at the moment. Ask Ernie if he'll have a talk with him. That should do the trick.'

So I saw Ernie Altschuler, one of their old-time staff producers. He knew nothing about rock'n'roll or British pop or Swinging London; he produced Tony Bennett and Ray Conniff. But he was a charmer and we became immediate friends. Ernie was 20 years older than me and wildly disillusioned with things. 'I've made CBS more hits than any other producer but I've never been paid a royalty or a bonus. They see me the same way they see the artists - just part of the process.'

I wasn't ready to believe such doleful news. I was excited, I was in the USA, I was managing a top band. America felt good. This was the real record industry - the corrupt, tough, no holds barred, American industry - not the whingeing, always-changing-their-mind industry we suffered in the UK.

Nevertheless, I was totally in their hands. Here there were 6,000 radio stations. Four thousand were said to have playlists under Mafia control. To promote my record would require cocaine and sex and suitcases full of cash. I hadn't chosen to be with this company: that had been done by EMI. In America I had just one job - to persuade CBS the Yardbirds were worth promoting. But since that was already decided there wasn't much left to do. So I went and had tea with Ahmet Ertegun.

Ever since the mid-Fifties, a lot of small record companies had been growing up. The people who owned them also ran them. They gave a more personal service than the majors, made the artist feel cared for. The royalties were no more and the profit margins no less but there was a feeling of compromise between commerce and art. Four of them dealt only with black artists - Motown, King, Chess and Atlantic.

Atlantic was owned by Ahmet and Nesuhi Ertegun - sophisticated, jazz-loving, multilingual Turks. With a view to discovering more about the explosion of music coming out of London, Ahmet invited me for afternoon tea and muffins. I'd only been there five minutes when the door opened and Joe Tex, one of the biggest black recording artists in America, stuck his head in. 'Ahmet, man, I was just wondering if you could loan me 10 bucks.'

'You want 10 bucks,' Ahmet told him. 'Go downstairs to the studio, find a backing track you like and put your voice on it.'

An hour later Joe came back. Ahmet buzzed the studio and asked the engineer if Joe had done a good vocal. Then he doled him out $10 and offered him a cup of tea. When Ahmet left the room for a minute I asked Joe how much royalties he got. He wasn't sure he got royalties at all. 'I don't know exactly how it works,' he confessed, 'but Ahmet and Nesuhi are like brothers. Whenever I'm in New York I gotta place I can hang out. And I always come away with a few bucks.'

Ahmet and Nesuhi, by the way, were making themselves very rich.

Owners of other small companies were getting rich less pleasantly. For a while I was producing records with Ray Singer and we went together to see the Roulette label, rumoured to be connected with the Mafia. People told us not to, but what the hell, we wanted all the work we could get and dealing with the Mafia sounded fun. We arrived early and were shown to a waiting room. Only when Ray wanted a pee did we notice there were no handles on the inside of the doors. He held it.

We were taken to meet the boss - Morris Levy, a Jewish record company executive with lots of Italian friends. His office was long, with his desk at one end on a dais. We arrived and Morris was standing mid-office. His hands were round the collar of a slightly built black guy, lifting him off the floor, shaking him furiously. 'You fucking black cocksucker. You promised to make me a hit record and you screwed up.'

The little black guy was shuddering from top to toe of his shaken body. Then we recognized him.

It was Mickey Stevenson, for God's sake! One of the top black producers in the world. He'd written 'Dancing in the Street' for Martha and the Vandellas and produced 'What Becomes of the Brokenhearted' for Jimmy Ruffin. Now he was being shaken to death. When Morris realized we'd come into the room he let go of Mickey, who fell to the floor like an empty sack. While Morris motioned us to chairs, Mickey crawled to the door and fled.

'So you want to make some records for me?' Morris boomed. Ray and I eyed each other awkwardly. What we'd seen seemed accurately to portray how the American music business dealt with people who failed.

Extraordinarily, Morris Levy was hugely loved in the music industry. In 1973, when he was voted Man of the Year by the United Jewish Appeal, the entire hierarchy of the music industry turned out to his celebration party. Morris loved to play the Mafia chief - he behaved the way all the other executives wished they were able to behave. Whenever artists asked Morris about royalties, he yelled: 'Royalties? Try Buckingham Palace.'

Other small companies popped up all over the place. In the UK, there was Island, owned by Chris Blackwell, a white West Indian who spoke Oxford English and Jamaican patois with equal panache. Charisma was owned by Tony Stratton-Smith, who was much loved by his artists despite a lifestyle that revolved around fine wine, racehorses and rent boys. In California, trumpet player Herb Alpert started A&M, which zoomed to success with the Carpenters and Carole King. Jac Holzman started Elektra specifically to sign non-mainstream artists such as the Doors and Judy Collins. Like all the other owners of small labels, he liked rock stars for what they were - self-obsessed and irrational. When he signed Love, he gave them a $5,000 advance ($100,000 in today's money). There were five of them, all living in a single hotel room and they needed transport to get to gigs with their equipment. They took his money and went to buy something suitable. An hour later they came back with a gull-winged Mercedes capable of taking two. Jac shrugged and shelled out for a van. At a major no one would have done that.

Whenever a rock singer experienced success, the ambition lobe in his brain seemed to develop a permanent, painful erection. Small companies understood how to deal with this, the majors hadn't a clue. Seeking to solve this problem, CBS appointed a charismatic figure to head the company, Clive Davis, a charming young lawyer. Clive camped it up, put on love beads and a hippy Nehru jacket and signed Scott McKenzie, Donovan, Laura Nyro and Blood Sweat &Tears. CBS's market share suddenly shot up.

Warners was now close on its heels. Steve Ross, who'd made money from car parking and hobnobbing with the Mob, headed an investment group which bought the company out for $50m. Free of all controls, the new company could go hell for leather for profit and forget about the niceties. To run it, Steve Ross found a guy called Mo Ostin who had a talent for picking off-the-wall artists and standing by them - the Kinks, Jimi Hendrix, Frank Zappa. Ross also took Warners on a buying spree and snapped up the best two small companies together with their owners; Elektra, with Jac Holzman, and Atlantic, with Ahmet Ertegun. Suddenly stuffy old Warners had become WEA.

At that time I was producing records for RCA. It too was trying the 'friendly president' approach but couldn't get it right. Each time I visited there was a new face at the top. Each new person signed new artists and stopped promoting the artists his predecessor had signed. Eventually RCA had more than 100 artists who were not achieving chart success so it had to hire yet another new president especially to fire them all.

By the mid-Seventies, in both the UK and the US, there were now only six majors . In the UK, there were three new small labels - Chrysalis, Zomba, and Virgin, which had signed my group Japan.

After four years Japan had finally broken in the UK so I decided to head for the States. Virgin had licensed America to CBS, which had fired Clive Davis in the wake of a payola scandal. The company was now run by two lawyers - Walter Yetnikoff and Dick Katz. I liked Walter but fell into the half of the company run by Dick - a very dull man indeed. I finally got a meeting with him but had no sooner arrived in his office than the buzzer sounded and his secretary's voice said: 'Bob Dylan on line one.'

'Can I call him back?' Dick asked.

'No. He says he wants to talk to you now.'

Dick was about to have a conversation he didn't want. Eighteen months previously there had been publicity about Jewish-born Dylan becoming a born-again Christian. He'd made a couple of albums full of evangelical zeal but they'd bombed. Now his contract had come up for renewal. Dick especially didn't want to have this conversation in front of me. He took the call anyway.

To begin with, it wasn't too interesting but then Dick yelled, 'I've told you, Bob - no fucking religion! If you can't agree to that, the deals off ...'

Bob was arguing the point but Dick was having none of it. 'Look, I'm telling you. There'll be no fucking religion - not Christian, not Jewish, not Muslim. Nothing. For God's sake, man - you were born Jewish, which makes your religion money, doesn't it? So stick with it, for Christ's sake. I'm giving you 20 million bucks - it's like baptizing you, like sending you to heaven. So what are you fucking moaning about? You want 20 million bucks from us? Well, you gotta do what we tell you. And what we're telling you is ... No Torah! No Bible! No Koran! No Jesus! No God! No Allah! No fucking religion. It's going in the contract.'

As a devout atheist, I could hardly object, though it seemed tough that a contract should include such specific restrictions. When we finally got back to the subject of my group Dick had rather lost interest. He agreed to release one album. There were three to choose from, each a cohesive musical whole, but he wanted bits from each. It was like introducing a new film director with a composite of three of his movies - the album wouldn't have a chance. And to make sure it didn't, CBS gave it no promotion. That way, Dick was able to tell me, 'You see, I was right. There's no market for a group like yours in the States.'

A year later I was back with Wham!. By now Walter Yetnikoff had taken the whole thing over for himself. He took artist friendliness to new levels. In his book Howling at the Moon, he describes his 15 years at the top of the company. He was there, he explained, for the artists. Yet from beginning to end of the book, he only talks about seven artists with whom he spent time - Paul McCartney, Michael Jackson, Mick Jagger, Barbra Streisand, Paul Simon, Bob Dylan, and Patti Labelle (and the latter only because he was screwing one of her singers).

During that 15-year period, perhaps 700 artists would sign to CBS, only 10 per cent of whom would have hits. More than 600 others would see CBS as the dead end that killed their career. Yet Walter saw himself as the man who nurtured artists - seven of them. In a greater or lesser way, that had been the ratio of care meted out to the artists by the majors since the beginning of time.

'People are so anxious to record, they'll sign anything ...' said singer Tom Waits, ' going across the river on the back of an alligator.'

They flocked to the majors asking for a chance. The failure rate was still the same. Count the names of every artist who appeared in the Top 100 from 1980 to 1990 - 1,000 perhaps? Multiply by nine and that's the number who signed to majors and were never heard of again.

As record companies got bigger in the Eighties, everything grew more corporate and less personal. Ron Weisner, who managed both Madonna and Michael Jackson, told me: 'The biggest frustration is always dealing with the record company - cajoling them, bullying them, charming them, threatening them. They're totally insensitive to the artist or his wellbeing.'

Polygram bought up every small company left to buy. At the annual conference in the US, the new German MD started his speech by saying: 'The first time I saw America was through the periscope of a U-boat.'

In the UK, Chrysalis, Zomba and Virgin had grown fast and were opening offices in the States. At Virgin they were trying to boost income, waiting for someone to buy them, using age-old accounting tricks. On one occasion I noticed the royalty statements for Japan had arrived with the artist's royalty less than it should be. It was because the company had first deducted the producer's royalty of 4 per cent. Lower down on the statement it stated the producer's royalty as 4 per cent and deducted it a second time. A call to the accounts office set things right but when the next statement came it was calculated in exactly the same way. A quick call round other managers established it was the same on their statements, too.

Ed Bicknell, manager of Dire Straits, said that dealing with Polygram altered his whole personality. 'You sometimes do things you wouldn't do to a mate. I had no compunction in screwing a corporation. I got through 16 or 17 managing directors ... they're incredibly inefficient and absolutely hopeless to deal with ... '

Ahmet Ertegun was still at WEA, but hating every minute of it. 'They kept putting up people to run it who were non-music people ... they would never take somebody from the cable division and let them run the movie division ... but they would take anybody and let them run the music ... there was no leadership from the top ... it was everybody fighting everybody else ...'.

In the Nineties, WEA's biggest artist, Prince, found it so frustrating he refused to record for them again even though he was still under contract. George Michael attempted to terminate his contract with Sony, which had now purchased CBS. It was rumored what had triggered George was hearing the company's new president, Tommy Mottola, referring to him as a 'limey fag'. If a Sony employee were referred to in the same way the company would probably end up in court and be fined. But an artist was not an employee, he was just an ingredient. Under advice from his lawyers George didn't sue over this but instead claimed his contract was invalid. It didn't win him his case but it told people a great many things they hadn't previously known about the record business.

Artists had to pay their own recording costs yet companies ended up owning the records. 'The bank still owns the house after the mortgage is paid,' is how Senator Orrin Hatch described it. Could we imagine film stars having to pay the costs of the movies they starred in and then giving the rights to the company that distributed it?

Artists also had to pay a packaging deduction of around 15 per cent. This, despite the fact that packaging rarely cost more than 5 per cent. The remaining 10 per cent was enough to pay the record company's entire cost of manufacturing the record. All in all, it meant an artist who sold 200,000 copies of a first album would still owe the record company although the record company had made a profit of a million.

But the worst thing about being signed to a major was that you lost the freedom to run your life. And though top artists could sometimes re-negotiate an unfair contract, it soon became clear that in the music business you didn't get out of an unfair record contract to get into a fair one; you get out of an unfair contract to get into another unfair one, but with slightly better terms.

Irving Azoff ran MCA for six years. Talking about 'time-honoured accounting traditions in the record business', he tells an industry audience of 3,000 audits on record companies. 'In 2,998 of them the artist was underpaid.'

Everyone had the same story. 'Systematic thievery,' said the Dixie Chicks in their writ against Sony. 'Intentionally fraudulent,' claimed US music lawyer Don Engel.

'Makes Enron look like amateur hour,' wrote music journalist Dave Marsh.

Azoff changed sides. He decided to head the American Artists' Association and sue all the major record companies on behalf of its artists. But he was pessimistic about their winning much; the majors were going under too fast. 'The big boys swooped in and bought all the historic, artist-friendly, independents ... A&M, Geffen, Interscope, Island, Chrysalis. The multinationals rationalised these purchases based on growing cash flows that don't exist any more. Now they are trying to defend failed business plans.'

So what have the major record companies done to try to solve the mess they bought into?

First, they chose to attack their own customers by suing people who downloaded files from Napster. Then Sony amalgamated with BMG and everyone enjoyed the show as top executives fought over who should be made redundant. The joint company had a disastrous setback when it attempted to stop the copying of records by secretly putting a code into CDs which made people's computers more vulnerable to viruses.

Meanwhile, two of Britain's recent big successes, Arctic Monkeys and Franz Ferdinand, signed to an independent, Domino, famous for giving its artists fairer deals. Forced to finally accept downloads into the singles charts, the majors watched as Arctic Monkeys got 18 of their songs into the Top 200. Once, that would have given a major half a million opportunities to sell a penny's worth of vinyl for a pound.

At Domino the deals with artists are more like partnerships and other independent companies are following suit. But the problem with signing to any record company is what might happen if it sells out to a major.

It's clear. The majors should become 'music companies'. They should find new artists, develop them, promote them and participate in all aspects of their earnings. The artist, rather than the record, should be the product. Artists should be developed for longevity, not for quick profit.

Universal, Sony and EMI all claim to be heading in that direction, but nobody believes them. As always, the biggest problem with signing to a record company is the bottomless pit of commitment. When your record flops, how do you extricate yourself?

For 50 years the major labels have thought of themselves as guardians of the music industry; in fact they've been its bouncers. Getting into the club used to be highly desirable. Now it doesn't matter any more.

For artists and managers, this is the moment to take things into their own hands. Artists no longer need to be held for 10 years and they no longer need to sign away ownership of their recorded copyrights. These days, an artist working closely with his manager can ensure that everything is done in the artist's best interest. Majors have never done that. And never will.

Four tops: the major players

Although independents account for 28 per cent of the market, the music industry today is still dominated by 'the Big Four' record companies.

Universal Music Group

Chairman and CEO Doug Morris presides over the largest record company in the world. Taken together, its labels such as Island, Polydor and Mercury account for a 25.5 per cent share in the global market. UMG itself is a subsidiary of Vivendi, the French media conglomerate.

Sony BMG

The result of a 50/50 joint venture between Sony Music Entertainment (part of Sony) and BMG Entertainment (part of Bertelsmann). Subsidiary labels include Arista, Columbia, Epic, J Records and RCA.

Warner Music Group

Subsidiary labels include Elektra and Atlantic. A merger with EMI looked likely until the latter was bought out by private equity firm Terra Firma.


The only British company in the pack, formed in 1931. Now run by Terra Firma boss Guy Hands; recently parted company with both Paul McCartney and Radiohead.

Labels study how to profit in digital era


When Rachael Adams buys a song online, she feels like she owns it.

That's why she's perplexed that the music industry has made it tough to play her songs on the multiple computers and music players that have become a part of her life.

"It just frustrates me,'' said Adams, a 26-year-old graphic artist in Nashville.

Record labels have been encoding digital music files for the past several years to ward off piracy. People who bought music online were limited in the number of times they could copy or transfer music between music players. The same restrictions don't exist on CDs, however.

After years of annoying fans who carefully buy music legally online with such maneuvers, the industry is moving away from such tactics.

"What the labels learned — it took them about seven to eight years to learn — consumers were not going to pay them to complicate their lives," saidPhil Leigh, senior analyst at research company Inside Digital Media in Tampa, Fla.

The growing shift is seen as a victory for consumers. But music labels have trodden cautiously as they try to figure out how to continue making money in an Internet age that continues to threaten overall music sales. In 2007, album sales, including digital, fell 9.5 percent compared with the previous year. launched a new site last fall to sell unrestricted music and has since managed to sign on all the major music labels — Universal Music Group, Sony BMG Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group and EMI Group. The music sells for as little as 89 cents per song and most albums sell at a price range from $5.99 to $8.99.

Last week, the music-oriented social network launched an ad-supported Web site where music lovers can listen to, although not download, entire songs, not just snippets, for free.

A key part of the new service involved striking a deal with all the major labels to make their music available on the service. Many independent labels have offered their music for streaming for years as a way to promote artists.

In a memo to employees last month, Warner Music Group Chairman and CEO Edgar Bronfman Jr. said: "By removing a barrier to the sale and enjoyment of audio down loads, we bring an energy-sapping debate to a close."
MP3 gains acceptance

The music industry's apparent willingness to offer consumers more control over digital music appears to be good news for people such as Adams, who has purchased mostly protected music through Apple's iTunes during the past two years.

Recently, she tried to download a song she had bought and was told she had ex ceeded the limit on the number of computers on which it will play.

Music labels are moving away from those protections, called digital rights management, or DRM, which typically limits the number of times downloaded songs can be copied. The industry in creasingly is embracing the MP3, a type of unprotected file that can be copied multiple times and played on any number of players, from BlackBerrys to iPods.

Mark Ott, 25, an ac count manager at an online marketing firm in Nashville, once had to call a technician at Apple just to get his iTunes music to play on a new computer.

"It's kind of like you're telling your customers that you don't trust them,'' Ott said. recently launched a new online music service that sells only unrestricted digital files, in the widely compatible MP3 format. ITunes has been sell ing label EMI Group's music in MP3 format, al though Apple has said many labels still limit how much unprotected music they will sell.

Universal has begun selling MP3 files through other online retailers such as Best Buy and Wal-Mart, in part to challenge iTunes' dominance of the digital market.

When announcing that part of its catalog would be sold on Amazon, Sony BMG's president of global digital business and U.S. sales, Thomas Hesse, said it was the "newest element of our ongoing campaign to bring our music to fans wherever they happen to be."

EMI Music spokeswoman Jeanne Meyer said that the company was the first major label to move away from digital rights management and that the industry has had to adapt to changes in the marketplace in a relatively short amount of time.

Without providing figures, she said the label was pleased with early results from the sale of unprotected music, particularly full album sales.

The move away from digital rights management is a "white flag" of surrender for the music in dustry, said Justyn Baker, executive di rector of li censing and digital service at Naxos of America in Franklin.

The company is a classical and jazz label that has sold unprotected digital music on since 2005.

"I've never believed in charging someone and then restricting what someone … could do with it," said Baker, who admitted the classical industry has had fewer problems with illegal downloads.

The industry has not given up, however, on attempts to control fans' sharing of music.
Continued fears

London-based recording industry trade group IFPI issued a report last week calling on Internet service providers to do more to protect the industry's profits by filtering out illegal downloads. It congratulated French President Nicolas Sarkozy for brokering a deal with providers to shut down persistent copyright violators.

Many in the recording industry hope digital-tracking technologies such as watermarking will help monitor how many times songs are copied and shared.

And even though record labels are beginning to sell unprotected versions of their music, many have not offered their entire catalogs. Universal, in fact, called its sale of MP3 files at and other retailers a "test" to see the effect on piracy.

The major record labels still have much to worry about.

U.S. album sales fell 9.5 percent last year from 2006, even counting digital sales, according to Nielsen SoundScan Inc. Sales of individual digital tracks climbed 45 percent but still didn't turn around overall sales, as digital makes up just one-quarter of music sales.

Technology firm Jupiter Research estimates that physical U.S. music sales, made up mostly of CDs and vinyl records, will shrink by $2.7 billion to $5.7 billion in sales in 2012, while digital download sales will gain only $1.7 billion in that time frame.

Although the industry blames illegal downloading, Jupiter Research analyst Michael Greene says increasing competition from other forms of entertainment and falling prices also are factors.

"Wal-Mart has driven down CD prices while putting many smaller retailers with higher prices out of business,'' he said.

ITunes also has been instrumental in lowering prices, by insisting that people should be able to buy one song and not the entire album.

Some are predicting that music will be come increasingly free online, supported by Web advertising. But how major music labels and their artists will be able to generate enough revenue to make up for lost sales has not been completely worked out.

"Anyone who claims to know one model and that's the future is going to be incorrect," said EMI's Jeanne Meyer.

"Whether it's subscription, whether it's mobile or a hybrid, the point is we need to make it a really good consumer experience … and to make sure the artists who create it are compensated."